Saturday, January 17, 2009

Treating a Cold (or Flu) While Pregnant

As if being pregnant is not challenging enough, fighting a cold or flu in addition to that can make you feel really blue - even worse if you are working! Here are some helpful womb friendly tips for fighting a cold in pregnancy.

It's best to avoid 'over the counter' cold treatments during pregnancy as many contain substances such as alcohol, decongestants and antihistamines that either aren't safe, or haven't been approved for use by expectant or breastfeeding mothers. This isn't as bad as it sounds as most cold medicines aren't actually able to clear the cold virus and instead just help to alleviate the symptoms - something that can be achieved with a range of alternative remedies.
  • The best thing you can do for your body (and your baby) when you catch a cold is to get plenty of rest. Your body can fight infections better when you're not rushing about so taking some time out to look after yourself and recover properly definitely pays.
  • Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of vegetables will not only help stave off any infections but will also help you to recover full fitness when you do catch a bug. If you don't feel much like eating try to consume five or six small meals throughout the day starting with plain food such as wholemeal toast; freshly squeezed juices and homemade soups are also packed with vitamins and make great nutrient rich snacks.
  • It's more important than ever to stay hydrated when you catch a cold so aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water, sugar free squash or herbal tea a day; hot honey and lemon is also great for calming a sore throat.
  • If a blocked nose is stopping you sleeping you could try using an extra pillow to raise your head or, if you find this uncomfortable, raising the top end of your mattress by putting a pillow underneath to create a gentler incline.
  • To help alleviate congested sinuses you could try creating a mini-steamer by placing a few drops of tea tree, peppermint or eucalyptus essential oil in a bowl with very hot water, placing a towel over your head and spending a few minutes breathing in the refreshing steam. You could also try draping a warm flannel over your sinus area (adding a couple of drops of essential oil if you wish) to help relieve the feeling of pressure here
  • If you have a sore throat gargling salt water can help. Dissolve a teaspoon of sea salt in some warm water and swill this mixture around your mouth and throat for a few minutes taking care not to swallow!
  • Avoid smoking (duh) or smoky environments as these irritate the respiratory tract further, exacerbating any cold symptoms
  • Buy some Vitamin D supplements to strengthen your immune system (unless it is summer, then the best thing for you is to get outdoors and get some sun, without any carcinogenic sunscreens on), 1,000 IU is good for daily intake to avoid catching a cold, but to treat one you need at least 2,000 IU daily. Some doctors and scientists who research vitamin D will argue that even that is not enough, but chances are - if you have a cold or the flu you have vitamin D deficiency. Just make sure the supplement is cholecalciferol not ergocalciferol (a synthetic vitamin D that will do more harm than good). 
Get better soon!

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1 comment:

  1. my step mother recommended Oscilllococcinum and my husband verified with the herb guy that it was harmless for pregnant women. If the fetus comes out wacky, I'll let you know but so far this is helping.


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